In anticipation of Thursday’s Vikings game, a classmate of 7-year-old Roman Vizenor at Hale School in Minneapolis drew the Washington Redskins’ logo during class. Roman, whose mother, Lynette, is enrolled in the Oneida Nation, explained to the student why he opposed the word “redskin” as a Native American: “The name ‘Redskins’ hurts,” writes MPR News reporter Jon Collins.
Roman and his mother put that on their sign at a protest on Thursday evening outside the game between the Washington Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings. Organizers estimated that about 500 people marched from the Native American Community Development Institute on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis to the Metrodome, where they rallied as thousands of Vikings fans streamed into the stadium.
Sasha Houston Brown’s first protest against the Redskins’ name was in 1992. She said she still has the shirt that says “Racism is not a sport.” She said the slow pace of change is largely due to the fact that many sports fans can’t put a face to the issue.
“It’s really easy when it’s just a picture on your jersey, but it’s another thing when you look straight into the eyes of a native kids and say that you’re a sports fan and, ‘It’s OK, it’s Redskins,’” Brown said.
“The word ‘redskin’ has had negative racial connotations since the 19th century and is known to many Native Americans as The R-Word.” (The Atlantic)
“We will never change the name of the team,” team owner Dan Snyder told USA Today. “As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it’s all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season.”
Today’s Question: Should the Redskins change their name?